25km to go
Geoffrey Bouchard and Alessandro Tonelli are holding on to their lead of 25sec, but with the below climb to follow can they take the stage win?
27km to go
Bora-Hansgrohe take over on the front of the chasing group which trails stage leaders Geoffrey Bouchard and Alessandro Tonelli by 28sec.
Geoffrey Bouchard is the first to crest the Roccolo ahead of Alessandro Tonelli. Onto the descent they go, a decent looking road surface but the road is extremely narrow.
30km to go
Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) lead the stage by just over 30sec. Tao Geoghegan Hart is looking relatively comfortable as the road pitches up, but one imagines he is hurting awfully on the inside. Jakob Fuglsang and his Astana team-mates are in a decent position.
31km to go
Arnaud Démare has four team-mates guiding him over this climb. He has lost contact with Peter Sagan et al, but is not totally out of the picture. If he can regain contact before the next climb and survive that brute, then he could end up winning a fifth stage today.
32km to go
Peter Sagan stil has a couple of Bora-Hansgrohe team-mates up near the front, but this horrible short climb has splintered the group. Tao Geoghegan Hart is well positioned at second wheel and has Ineos Grenadiers team-mate Ben Swift on his wheel.
32.5km to go
The peloton catches Simon Pellaud on the steep early section of the Roccolo climb. Peter Sagan is positioned near the front, just ahead of Ben Swift and Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates). Simone Ravanelli is droipped by the breakaway; Arnaud Démare loses contact with the reduced peloton.
33.5km to go
Rodrigo Contreras (Astana) and Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) have been dropped by the break, leaving Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto-Soudal), Simone Ravanelli (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Lorenzo Rota (Vini Zabu-KTM) and Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) up the road. The five-man group's lead, however, has dropped to below a minute.
36.5km to go
Here we go, the breakaway is edging towards the Roccolo and the breakaway's lead has been whittled down to a shade over a minute. Ineos Grenadiers are riding hard on the front, while Groupama-FDJ have their sprinter Arnaud Démare up near the front, though presumably he will slide back through the bunch once the gradients go into double digits.
40km to go
Here we go, Ineos Grenadiers have taken over on the front of the peloton and the injection in pace from them has seen the breakaway's lead drop to 1min 30sec. Positioning going into these climbs today may be crucial to the stage win, while those with an eye on the general classification will not want to lose contact with their rivals.
45km to go
Quite a bit of movement back in the peloton as NTT move towards the front, presumably positioning themselves there in an attempt to protect their general classification contender Domenico Pozzovivo. With the first of those climbs coming fairly soon, nobody will want to be caught out should an incident occur on the wall-like climb.
55km to go
The breakaway has managed to gain a few seconds on the peloton, but with a lead of just 2min 12sec I think we can assume the stage winner today will be coming from the bunch. The first of the categorised climbs — Roccolo, 4.3km at 7.8% average gradient — is in around 20km and is followed by Calaone whicjh is just 2km long, but has an average gradient of 9.9%. As you can see from the below profiles, there are some very steep sections. The Roccolo goes up to 20%!
60km to go
Today's stage is passing through the Po Plain which is panflat and into the Vento region which is where an awful lot of cycling kit and equipment manufacturers are based. I had the pleasure of riding through here a couple of years ago while riding the second week of the Giro d'Italia, just ahead of the professionals. While we are waiting for today's stage to really kick off, here's what I wrote about my experience . . .
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to ride a grand tour – one of the three epic stage races that punctuate the cycling season. As a child when not fantasising about scoring the winner against Everton in the FA Cup final or bagging a hat-trick in the European Cup final, I dreamed not about winning a stage or jersey at the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France or Vuelta a España, but simply completing one of these three-week odysseys.
Even then I understood the magnitude of these races, they were and still remain the most brutal tests of endurance any sportsperson can undertake. They are really, really hard; the level of physical strength and mental fortitude needed to complete them is off the scale. I may have been young and carefree as a child, but I wasn’t stupid. I knew my limitations and, in reality, knew I stood a better chance of marmalising Franco Tancredi in Stadio Olimpico than ever riding down the Champs-Élysées alongside Laurent, Bernard, Greg et al so stuck to riding the Tuesday night 10, thank you very much. I wasn’t much good at that either, but that’s another story altogether.
Fast forward almost 35 years and I'm climbing, high into the Carnic Alps in north-eastern Italy. The noise is overwhelming, the barriered road all mine. Somewhere behind – I have no idea how close – are other riders, closing in as I inch ever higher towards the finish line. Calls of 'dai, dai' spill out from the heaving masses on the other side of the barriers. Others offer more familiar words of encouragement: 'allez, allez'. One man leans over the metal fencing – one of the many thousands gathered, waiting patiently, high near the summit of this cruel, cruel climb – face contorted, almost in tears and screams 'Marco Pantani, Marco Pantani'. I go down onto the drops before, exaggeratedly, moving the bike left to right – à la Il Pirata – before flashing the Pantani fan a smile; he returns the smile. I push on.
70km to go
Not entirely sure what has happened to Davide Ballerini, but the Deceuninck-Quick Step rider has dropped back to the medical car. The Italian appears to have picked up a cut or graze above his left eye.
75km to go
Bora-Hansgrohe remain on the front of the peloton, while an Israel Start-up Nation rider is in there to lend a helping hand. Interesting to note that Ineos Grenadiers are also up near the front, could they be thinking Ben Swift, the British national champion, could give it a crack today? The 32-year-old has been impressive at the race and has already posted two fourth-place finishes. But will today be the day he lands a big one and takes his first grand tour stage?
The breakaway, by the way, leads by 1min 40sec.
80km to go
Pieter Serry (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), two riders that live close to each other in Flanders, managed to catch up with each other earlier back in the peloton.
85km to go
After taking the maglia rosa following stage three atop Mount Etna, few expected Joao Almeida to still be wearing the the leader's pink jersey as the race edges into the second week of the Giro. However, the young Portuguese who is making his grand tour debut has ridden cleverly and nicked the odd time bonus here and there to actually increase his lead. His Deceuninck-Quick Step team-mates, too, have done brilliantly in protecting him.
If he does pull off the improbable, though, the 22-year-old will not be the youngest ever winner of the Giro, that honour goes to Il Campionissimo himself (Fausto Coppi) who was just 20 years and 268 days old when he won the race back in 1940.
100km to go
And we are into the final 100km. Not much is happening*.
* Nothing is happening. Yet.
103km to go
Good to see that Manuele Boaro is taking his refueling seriously.
As it stands . . .
Though it took a while to form, a seven-man breakaway comprising Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Rodrigo Contreras (Astana), Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto-Soudal), Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Simone Ravanelli (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Lorenzo Rota (Vini Zabu-KTM) and Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) eventually clipped off the front. With 110km of the stage remaining, that septet of riders lead by just under two minutes.
It will surprise few to discover that Bora-Hansgrohe are doing most of the heavy lifting on the front of the peloton. Although there is a flat finale to the stage that would suit a sprinter like Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) who has already won four stages at this year's Giro, the small matter of two brutal looking climbs that top out around 20km from the line will make it a difficult for the pure sprinters. And therefore, Peter Sagan is one of the favourites today hence his Bora-Hansgrohe team-mates riding on the front as they monitor the breakaway.
And welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 13 at the Giro d'Italia, the 190-kilometre run from Cervia to Monselice. As you can see from the below profile, stage is a little back-ended with some nasty looking climbs towards the end of an almost panflat stage.
Here are the leaders in the four main classifications — those awarded jerseys — the maglia rosa (pink), maglia ciclamino (cyclamen), maglia azzurra (blue) and maglia bianca (white).
The remaining 143 riders in the race rolled through KMO at 10.52am (BST) and as it stands, there is a seven-man breakaway leading the stage. Our liveblog will get under way in earnest at 12.45pm.